The Mother Divine
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By Swami Krishnananda

Part - III

Spiritual seekers, to clarify whose position is the intention of this article, get bifurcated into the purely God-inspired, whole-timed Sadhakas and the probationers on the path who aspire to seek perfection but cannot escape the shackles of the world and human society. There is little difficulty before the higher class of seekers, but the troubles of the second group are galore. The reason for this is that they are unable to strike a balance between God and the world, the technique of which the Bhagavad Gita has endeavoured to explain in great detail. A harmony between the inner and the outer is difficult enough to maintain always because of the strength of sensory forces influencing the mind throughout the walking life of the individual. A counter-force from within has to be generated to keep the balance of consciousness so that the outer forces of sense-perception may not overwhelm it and make it merely an instrument of sense-gratification and the physical urges. This art is called Yoga, the union of the inner and the outer of the higher and the lower. If God is indivisible existence in his pure absoluteness, unrelated to externality of any kind, he appears as harmony in the universe of manifestation. Hence we can safely conclude that wherever is this balance and harmony of forces, there is the presence of God in some proportion. The harmony has to be worked out in the body, mind and spirit, as well as in society and the world. Physical harmony is health. Mental harmony is sanity. Spiritual harmony is intuition. Social harmony is the peace of the world.

The consciousness of indivisibility originally receives the touch of the relative in self-consciousness which immediately implies the existence of space outside oneself, though, in this primordial state, the consciousness of space may look inseparable from self-consciousness. Almost simultaneously with this, there is the consciousness of time as a process in which the consciousness finds itself. The fourth step is the consciousness of objects outside, which primarily may appear to be organically related to consciousness. Up to this stage, it may be said, consciousness has not been 'entangled', in the sense in which this situation is generally understood. But the difficulty commences with the further movement of consciousness when it assumes the mark of an individuality of its own and isolates itself from other such centres of consciousness as well as objects by regarding every one of them as external. There are, however, certain implications of the consciousness of separated individuality, which are mainly the sense of heat and cold, hunger and thirst and the fear of death of oneself as a bodily entity. The metabolic process is set up into action and sleep then becomes a necessity to cause repair to the wear and tear of the body thereby, as well as due to continued object-consciousness in the 'wakeful' condition, one which is obviously unnatural to pure consciousness. The functions of breathing, thinking, feeling and understanding, with their concomitants, follow at once. Up to this stage, the individual may be said to have been externalised into the biological and the psychological make-up of personality. In the case of man, this is pure humanity

But certain other processes which should be regarded as the abnormal functions of the individual's psychology now commence with the rise of the desire for material possessions – wealth and property – the desire for sexual contact and the sense of self-respect which materialises into the desire of self-glorification and the exercise of power over those outside oneself, which all come step by step, in succession. Here, the entanglement of consciousness is complete, and this is what is known as Samsara, or the painful earthly life. It is unfortunate that the mind of man does not rest even with this self-degeneration and, by process of time, getting itself accustomed to this condition, as if it is its natural state, forms its philosophy of it is better to rule in hell than serve in heaven'. The result of this is the formulation of erroneous philosophies such as materialism, scepticism, agnosticism, pluralism, formalism, such as we find in the addiction to mere ritual, as well as the several arts and sciences which man regards as his highest achievements today but which are intended only to rationalise and perpetuate the condition of entanglement of consciousness with objects of various kinds, into which it has already descended. Even the so-called impersonal sciences of mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology and empirical psychology appear to be valid only so long as Nature is regarded as external consciousness. A philosophy based on this bifurcation of experience cannot therefore save consciousness from the pains it suffers in entanglement.

The technique of Yoga as a method of striking a balance between consciousness and objects is the first part of the individual's return to the universal. The second part of this attempt is the still higher stage of meditation by which the realisation comes that consciousness and its objects are not merely in a state of organised balance but form one unitary being. Philosophers like Kant, in the West, with all their acuteness of analysis, came to the conclusion that Reality cannot be known by consciousness, because of the difficulty in getting rid of the usual intellectual prejudice that the object of consciousness has always to be outside itself. This led Kant to the position of what he calls the paralogisms of conflict in philosophical position in regard to the truth of the mutual relation among God, the world and the individual. This difficulty is overcome in the philosophy of the Bhagavadgita and the Upanishads, a careful study of which every student of Yoga should make, going to the essential spirit of these teachings. It is outside the scope of this essay to go into details of the great gospels given by these scriptures to humanity, which constitute an independent subject by it. It is hoped that seekers on the spiritual path will fare well if they take note of all these unavoidable aspects of their spiritual life, and where sincerity is the keynote, God is sure to shower his blessings.